'I'll never be an editor again', said Aengus Fanning
A chapter in Michael Murphy's new book, The House of Pure Being, tells of visits the newscaster and psychotherapist made to former Sunday Independent editor Aengus Fanning in hospital while he was undergoing treatment for lung cancer.
At the launch of the book last Thursday, Anne Harris, Aengus's widow and current editor of the Sunday Independent (in a speech read by her daughter Constance) told of how the two men got on.
"They were very different men. Aengus did not observe rules. Michael did. But perhaps their meeting of minds was guaranteed by the fact that both had poetic souls. Michael a published poet. Aengus an occasional songwriter. Study of the human condition delighted both.
"But Aengus saw his identity as editor and on the last afternoon of his life he said to Michael, 'I'm going to say something I've never said to anyone – I don't think I'll ever be an editor again.'
"That truly was Aengus letting go. Because he was the consummate editor, a true libertarian, a believer in freedom of speech, who brought his whole life to editing.
"'I don't think I'll ever be an editor again' he said – and having dealt with that cataclysmic acceptance, they went on to talk and quote poetry and Aengus died within a matter of hours. If this book reveals one thing, it is that there are no barriers to love. Not dementia. Not death."
A moving extract from the book is in this week's LIFE magazine.